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Chemical Sensitivity: The Truth About Environmental Illness (Consumer Health Library) [Hardcover]

Stephen J. Barrett , Ronald E. Gots
1.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 April 1998 Consumer Health Library
Chemical sensitivity (or "multiple chemical sensitivity") describes people with numerous troubling symptoms attributed to environmental factors, from simple housepaint to complex building structures and materials in offices and schools. Many such people are seeking special accommodations, applying for disability benefits, and filing lawsuits claiming that exposure to common foods and chemicals has made them ill. Their efforts are supported by some physicians who refer themselves as clinical ecologists. They use questionable diagnoses and treatment methods, while critics charge that these approaches are bogus and that "chemical sensitivity" is not a valid diagnosis.

The complaints associated with chemical sensitivity include depression, irritability, poor memory, fatigue, drowsiness, constipation, sneezing, wheezing, skin rashes, headache, chest pain, pounding heart, swelling, upset stomach, paralysis, AIDS-like illnesses, psychotic experiences, and just about every other symptom noted in medical textbooks. One prominent clinical ecologist even claimed that chemical sensitivity patients may well be human "canaries" on an increasingly poisoned planet, and others have actually labeled chemical sensitivity as a disease. While some people are adversely affected by exposure to some chemicals, there is an overwhelming increase in false claims and reports from misled obsessive patients and opportunistic doctors.

Chemical Sensitivity examines this phenomenon in depth and the scientific, legal, ethical, and political issues that surround it. The authors explore the speculations about environmental exposure in the light of scientific knowledge of human physiology, allergy and immunology, pathology, toxicology, and clinical medicine. They evaluate cases of chemical sensitivity relative to controlled tests, and reveal that symptoms were brought on by psychological factors rather than physical ones. Chemical Sensitivity also critically assesses claims related to "sick building syndrome," "mercury-amalgam toxicity," "yeast allergy," and Gulf War syndrome.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (19 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573921955
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573921954
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,119,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Disinformation Campaign in Full Force 2 July 1999
By A Customer
A most unfortunate defence of the chemical-agro conglomerate. The post WWII boom of the "chemical age" is not without it's victims. In increasing numbers, people are becoming sensitized or allergic to common chemical additives such as formaldehyde, plastics, synthetic latex, gasoline additives, perfumes and hundreds more. The authors of this folly do their utmost to present the people affected by these allergies as nothing more than mental health cases. The fact that neither of these authors are researchers, and seem grossly out of step with contemporary medical knowledge is glaringly evident, even with the short duration of time passed since this publication. Anyone can look up information on "chemical allergy" on the Johns Hopkins Medical University website. A rather striking contrast to this unscientific effort from authors who either knowingly, or unknowingly put out the strongest defense for the continued use of "business as usual" in the chemical sectors. The "Truth About MCS and Environmental Illness" will not be found between the cover here. Try one of the other books, such as Miller and Ashford's "Chemical Exposures...Low Levels, High Stakes" for a better understanding of how to protect your health, and your familiy's health in the "chemical age"
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate, misleading, and harmful 2 April 1999
By A Customer
As a professor, I would classify this book as unscientific, politically-motivated, and downright harmful to public welfare. I would recommend, instead, the book by Nicholas Ashford and Claudia Miller: "Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes."
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy this book! 27 Feb 2008
Mcs is a horrific illness. It leaves you isolated alone and terrified. I only hope the authors of this book get mcs, as an increasing amount of people are. Then they'd discover the 'truth' of it. This book is pure evil.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shills for the Chemical Industry 25 May 1999
By A Customer
If you want to read chemical industry propaganda, this is the book for you. If you want to read the REAL Truth about Environmental Illness, I recommend "Chemical Exposures : Low Levels and High Stakes", by Miller and Ashford. The facts show that Gots and Barrett are nothing but chemical industry shills.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The authors do an excellent job of debunking the "Environmental Illness" myth that is being perpetuated by clinical ecologists. They show that these illnesses are not recognized by the scientific community at large. The authors do not have any ties to the chemical industry, they are merely speaking out for the people, and trying to get the message across that these "illnesses" should be looked at more carefully. They are trying to warn people of the fraud that is being foisted upon everyone by lawyers and physicians. READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!
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